There are four categories of hamburger in American Cuisine:
- The one you make at home on the grille.
- The fast food burger.
- The pub-food burger.
- The local burger joint burger.
Bend Burger Company falls into the latter category, as it is the prototypical local burger joint. BBC has two locations in Bend: on Franklin just west of Drake on the corner of Wall & Franklin downtown; and a second location on 3rd Street between Thurston & Seward, right across from Rite-Aid. I’ve eaten many times at both locations. Oddly, I eat downtown when it is ski season and on 3rd when it is bicycle season. I think I’ve only parked a car at the BBC on 3rd once, but have biked there many times. Go figure.
Note: The 3rd Street location does land-office business on weekday lunches, so be prepared for a crowd, unless you arrive early!
This week we stopped at the Franklin location downtown for a dinner before a movie at McMenamins. While it may seem odd to have dinner before going to a movie theater that serves dinner, I will admit to having a strong hankering for a PARTICULAR burger at the Bend Burger Company all week prior to our date night, and since I was driving, BBC it was!
We’re both on “low carb” diets at the moment and BBC offers two great bunless low-carb options:
- A Burger Salad
- Any burger served on a bowl of sautéed green beans
When you enter either BBC you order at the counter and they give you a number, delivering your meal when it is ready. BBC is NOT fast food, so set your expectations accordingly. It will be a while, as your meal is made to order and VERY fresh. Good things come to those who wait. Both locations plenty of seating (the downtown location is much smaller however) and have bright decor with large format photos of central Oregon scenery and action shots of climbing at Smith Rock. A large screen TV has an endless slide show of Central Oregon images.
Both locations offer beer on-tap and wines by the glass. If your diet allows it (like my summertime 50+ mile bike days do!) order a milkshake. BBC shakes are delicious.
On this trip I order a Ponderosa Burger on Green Beans, and my date orders a Bend Burger Salad. I ask for a side of onion rings. Yeah, that’s a bit of a cheat on our diet, but since I am missing out on some of the best fries in Central Oregon, I want something to compensate with.
Our rings arrive first and rather than a small side, it is a huge basket of them! The BBC onion rings are amazing. Perfectly cooked with a crunchy outside and tender inside. My date proclaims them the best onion rings she has ever had. They are served with fry sauce, which I like to spice up with a few shots of the hot sauce they have on the table alongside the catsup and mustard.
About the time we’re licking our fingers after the last onion ring is gone, our burgers arrive:
The Ponderosa is covered in Pepper Jack cheese, onion straws, and to top it off another couple of onion rings!
The green beans are perfectly cooked and have a sauce that includes bacon and bits of ground beef. Some black pepper and a few shots from the hot sauce dispenser kicks up the heat a little.
The entire meal is delicious. My date finishes her Burger Salad, but there is no way I can finish the bowl of beans. I’ve ordered this dish a few times and never been able to finish it in one sitting, but it makes for great leftovers so I get a “to-go” box and bring them home.
Bend Burger Company Locations:
718 NW Franklin Ave, Bend, OR
1939 NW 3rd Street, Bend, OR